Archive for February, 2011

Sofia Housing Market Shows Strong Signs of Recovery

The January 2011 sales of housing properties in Sofia are up two times compared to January 2010, according to data from the real estate agency Bulgarian Properties.

The company’s Operational Director, Polina Stoykova, quoted by the Bulgarian daily “Dnevnik,” says data about deals concluded in January of 2011 shows this has been the strongest first month of the year in terms of sales in several years to pass.

The Director explains the common trend is for the sales to go down in the beginning of the year, adding the numbers are a good sign for the real estate market as a whole.

In January, buyers were mostly interested in one-bedroom apartments with a listing price of up to EUR 50 000; followed by two-bedroom units between EUR 75 000 and EUR 80 000, and by luxury apartments with prices between EUR 120 000 and EUR 300 000.

Considering the average income and the price reduction for housing units, apartments in Sofia are way more affordable compared to 5 years ago, according to Stoykova.

Data from the National Statistics Institute (NSI) shows that housing prices in the capital are at the 2005 level while the average income of 1 employee after inflation deduction is 65% higher compared to the same year.

In 2005, an individual was able to afford with their monthly income about 0.4 square meters of housing in Sofia while in 2010 this number is 0.5 square meters.

For example, a 70 square-meter apartment in 2010 could be paid off in 11 years or 132 monthly salaries. In 2005, these numbers have been 14.5 and 175 respectively; in 2000 – 9 end 107.

The lowest purchasing power was registered in 2008 – 0.3 square meters in 19.5 years or 233 monthly salaries.

Apartment prices in Sofia have fallen by nearly 33%, compared to their peak in 2008, according to NSI data, and 31%, according to Bulgarian Properties data. The reduction, however, is nearing 0 since the second half of 2010, meaning the real estate prices have already hit their bottom.

Stoykova’s forecast is for a continuing strong interest on the part of the buyers in Sofia over the expected relocation, (triggered by better wages), of highly educated people and business people.

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9 Million Tourists Had Vacations in Bulgaria in 2010

Almost 9 million tourists were registered in Bulgaria in 2010, according to data of the National Tourism Board, an association of the tourism industry, which had a conference in Sofia Wednesday.

The National Tourism Board conference was attended by Finance Minister Simeon Djankov, who promised government support for key tourist infrastructure projects.

The tourism industry data presented at the conference says that Bulgaria saw a 5% increase in bed occupancy in 2010 year on year, with the total bed occupancy reaching 30%.

“We are regaining our positions from before the economic crisis. What is more, for 2011 we expect even better results, and about the same number of tourists,” stated Rumen Draganov, head of the Institute for Analysis and Estimates in Tourism. The Board data suggests that in spite of the crisis, Bulgaria’s tourism revenues are on the increase.

Bulgaria’s government will invest a total of BGN 42 M in advertising the country as a tourist destination in 2011, Bulgaria’s Finance Minister Djankov said. Djankov vowed an emphasis on cultural tourism.

The National Tourism Board has demanded a “clear” tourism law that defines and outlines the various tourist attractions. One of Bulgaria’s problems is that it has very few international brands of hotels, according to the experts.

Bulgaria Boasts 3.2% Increase in Winter Tourism Y/Y

During the traditional months for winter tourism in Bulgaria, January and February, the industry had registered a 3.2% growth compared to the same period of 2009.

The data was revealed for the media Saturday by Economy Minister, Traicho Traikov, who said the revenues for the same months in 2010 have been EUR 190 M while Bulgarians spent on vacations abroad EUR 130 M.

A stark change in the ratio of countries sending most tourists to Bulgaria in the winter has been registered during the 2010 winter season – in previous years 80% of them came from the UK and Russia while in 2010 most came from neighboring countries.

Since the beginning of 2010, hotel owners in Bulgaria’s winter resort of Bansko have been reporting having most reservations from Greece, Serbia and Macedonia. There is also an increase of Romanian visitors, but on a smaller scale.

Foreign tourists have spent an average of EUR 86 a day for their winter vacation, which they have combined with SPA and cultural tourism. The leading factor for them to select Bulgaria had been the low price. Their preferred hotels were the 4-star ones and most have purchased packages from travel agents.

Bulgarians, on the other hand side, have chosen countryside and winter vacations almost with the same rates as in the fall. Most of them made their own reservations while 43% stayed with friends and relatives instead of using hotels. Bulgarians spent an average of BGN 46 a day for their winter trips while their top priorities have been beautiful surroundings and good food.

Balkan Neighbors to Boost Bulgaria’s Winter Tourism

Bulgaria‘s winter tourism is slowly recovering from the financial crisis, mainly due to the increased number of tourists from neighboring Balkan countries.

The increased number of tourists from Serbia, Greece, Romania and Albania will be the main reason for the Bulgarian tourist market’s winter boost, according to Bulgarian hotel owners.

A strong interest has been declared in Bulgaria‘s neighboring countries with regard to the Bansko ski resort‘s scheduled winter sport events, the hotel owners have commented.

The newly opened Zlatograd border crossing with Greece is also expected to ease the transportation of more Greek tourists to Bulgaria‘s winter resorts.

Bulgaria‘s Minister of Economy, Energy and Tourism Traicho Traikov stated Saturday that he expects an at least 3% increase in Bulgaria‘s winter tourism revenue, with some operators even expecting a 10% increase.

Economy Minister: Bulgarian Winter Tourist Season Will Be Strong

Bulgaria’s 2010/11 winter tourist season will be stronger than the last one, according to Minister of Economy Traicho Traikov.

Traikov, who is also responsible for Bulgaria’s tourism, stated for Darik Radio Saturday that he expects an at least 3% increase in revenue, with some operators even expecting a 10% increase.

The Bulgarian minister commented that the country expects guests from all over Europe, including neighboring countries like Greece, Macedonia and especially Romania.

Traikov was present at the opening of the 2010/11 ski season in Bulgaria’s biggest winter resort Bansko, in the Pirin mountains.

In Bansko he also conversed with wine producers and voiced hopes that Bulgaria can return its international prestige in the field.


Welcome to RilaDev’s Blog!

In 2006, RilaDev a English Bulgarian homebuilder embarked on one of the most ambitious hotel and residential project in Bansko, Bulgaria, Pirinea Hotel Spa and Residence.

This blog offers current news and information on the Bulgarian real estate market and economy, local and touristic events and tracks the exciting progress of this emerging market.

This blog will also offer subscribers periodical updates on the Pirinea project, its construction progress and other related information.

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Russell Collins
rcollins@pirinea.co.uk

+44 207 313 8073

Author: Russell Collins - RilaDev

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